Formula 1 2020: McLaren's Lando Norris abandons new helmet design for Belgian GP over 'political' significance
Norris, who has Belgian grandparents, had introduced a new-look helmet for the Belgian Grand Prix, which included a black lion on a yellow background, the flag of the Flemish region.
McLaren driver Lando Norris on Saturday abandoned wearing a new helmet design after discovering that it may have political significance.
The Briton, who has Belgian grandparents, had introduced a new-look helmet for the Belgian Grand Prix, which included a black lion on a yellow background, the flag of the Flemish region.
But when he was informed that the image is used by a Belgian right-wing political party, he decided to stop using it.
"I wasn’t aware of the connotations around the use of this particular motif when I designed the helmet," he said. "As soon as I was, it was clear that it was inappropriate to continue using it."
He added that he had wished to "pay tribute to my Belgian roots and my family, in particular my grandparents whose picture I put on the back".
"The helmet was never intended to be a political statement, for me personally it was simply a cool design that paid tribute to part of my heritage," he said.
"I never want to cause division or offence and I understand that using the helmet would have offended many people in Belgium. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go back to my standard helmet."
Norris explained that he regarded the Belgian race as his second ‘home’ event.
"I’m 50 percent Belgian," he said. "And 50 percent from the UK. We used to come here for Christmas and Easter and everyone on my mum’s side lives out here.
"The only reason I would say Silverstone or the GB race is more of a home race is just because that’s where I’ve grown up."
Arch-rivals in football and cricket will be in action on Sunday while Formula One enthusiasts will once again get to witness the ongoing rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Since its revival at the Circuit of the Americas outside of Austin in 2012, the US Grand Prix has featured strong crowds and some nifty racing on the state-of-the-art, 3.4-mile road course.
US Grand Prix: Max Verstappen holds off Lewis Hamilton to win thriller, extends championship lead to 12 points
The victory by 1.33 seconds was Verstappen's eighth of the season at a track where Hamilton had won five times.